Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Katherine Hankins

Second Advisor

Deirdre Oakley

Third Advisor

Richard Milligan

Fourth Advisor

Andy Walter


Lefebvre’s ‘right to the city’ concept involves collective ownership of the means of production, rights to information, right to difference, right to self-management, and what he refers to as ‘autogestion.’ Lefebvre’s ideas have captured the imagination of many grassroots and transnational organizations, such as the Right to the City Alliance and have been applied to various issues in the city dealing with human rights, including access to affordable housing, use of public space, and threats of displacement from gentrification. Within and across these organizations, it becomes critical to examine the contours of ‘the right to the city’ and what rights Lefebvre and activists who use this framework mean as they pursue their social justice agendas. In this study, I examine the community land trust model in the context of the ‘right to the city’ framework that Lefebvre (1996) developed and as interpreted by Purcell (2014). My analysis reveals that the grassroots CLT model more closely embodies the ideals of Lefebvre’s ‘right to the city’ through collective governance and the appropriation of urban space in contrast to other traditional CLT models that focus more narrowly on affordable housing. This study suggests the importance of the community’s voice in realizing the right to the city.